Study of the Fire Service Training Environment: Safety, Fidelity, and Exposure

Peer-Reviewed Journal Article Describes Development of New Water-Vapor Measurement Tool

June 5, 2020

tunable diode laser absorption spectroscopy (TDLAS) tool taking measurements of water-vapor in front of a pallet structure in the form of a triangle.

The In-situ measurement of water-vapor in fire environments using a real-time tunable diode laser based system peer-reviewed journal article, describes the development of a new tool designed to measure water-vapor during full-scale live fire research. This instrument is capable of measurements through varying smoke obscuration, in pre- and post-suppression environments and at high temperatures and water-vapor concentrations.

The tunable diode laser absorption spectroscopy (TDLAS) tool was validated in laboratory bench scale testing, then utilized in a series of training experiments with three types of fuel loads in three different training props. Changes in water-vapor concentration were characterized as the fire evolves and was suppressed by firefighting hose streams. These results confirm initial reports from the Study of the Impact of Fire Attack Utilizing Interior and Exterior Streams on Firefighter Safety and Occupant Survival (Fire Attack) that showed post-suppression water vapor concentrations to be comparable or lower than the maximum pre-suppression concentrations in structures that simulate typical residential fire scenarios. However, peak water-vapor concentrations are measured after suppression in typical training structures where firefighters would be operating, suggesting that post suppression conditions experienced in training fires (particularly in metal structures) may not conform to conditions in typical residential fires.

This manuscript is a component of the Study of the Fire Service Training Environment: Safety, Fidelity, and Exposure project and builds on the initial moisture measurement studies from the Fire Attack project.

UL Firefighter Safety Research Institute (FSRI) partnered with the Illinois Fire Service Institute (IFSI) Research program and the University of Illinois Department of Mechanical Science & Engineering who led the development of this tool and supported data collection from common training fire scenarios.

Funding for this project was provided by the Department of Homeland Security Fire Prevention and Safety Grant # EMW-2014-FP-00471.